Based on some recent experiences and plenty of past experiences, we thought it would be good to help customers make good choices when shopping for new computers. The easiest and best way is to trust us to do the research and know your company’s computing needs enough to provide you with the best computer for the best price. However there are some that like the thrill of the hunt and want to find the best “deal” themselves. They try to save money via sales that we honestly cannot compete with on price. This newsletter is meant to help guide them to the best options for solid performance and longevity in their investment.
Big Box Stores (Staples, Walmart, Costco, Best Buy, etc.): Seeing the local adds, these retailers are often at the top of the list for many people when shopping for a computer. They offer the convenience of being able to physically touch the computer being purchased and not having to wait for the computer to be shipped from some other part of the country. The downside is that these retailers are selling a commodity product for the smallest cost possible to maximize their profits. This means they are willing to have computers made from the least expensive parts and lowest build quality. They also find ways of scrimping on important features and masking this deficiency with flashy claims on features or partnerships with celebrity endorsements. Don’t be fooled these are disposable computers that will not stand up to the demands of a business environment.
Online Discount Sellers (eBay, Amazon, Google. Overstock, etc.): Bargain hunters are getting savvier with online tools and searches for the products they want. This type of “retailer” works much like the big box store, but you have to trust the pictures you see online and wait for the product to arrive from across the country or globe. These online stores are often just marketplaces where smaller retailers post their products to gain greater visibility then they could on their own. They are also notorious for selling what appear to be quality computers that have been “refurbished” in-house. These refurbished computers are usually years old and are a Frankenstein monster of spare used parts from their shop. Much like buying a car from a used car lot, you get all the troubles of someone else’s computer with all the reliability of a computer that is past its prime held together with old parts.
What to look for in a new computer
Business Class: This is important because manufactures who have this distinction on their products take the time to make a quality computer with mid-range parts. These computers will have all the needed features and typically last much longer then the disposable computers from other stores. If you go directly to the manufacturers website, they will typically have a section labeled Business that you can look through the models they have given this distinction.
Processors: This is the capacity of the computer to crunch through data. There are two main companies that make these chips, Intel and AMD. Intel is what I recommend for the majority of business users (except for those who only do light office work). They currently are using a system of Generations and i-series distinctions. The Generations help determine the age of the processor with the latest being 12th-generation processors, so if you are looking at a computer with a 9th-generation processor it is likely 3 years old out of the box. The i-series consists of i3, i5, i7, and i9 which is a measure of the raw computing power that the processor contains. Our recommendation for businesses are i5 for general office work and i7 if you are a power user who does many things at once.
Memory: This is the short-term memory capacity of the computer, so the more you have the more you can accomplish at once. These chips also have designations of DDR technology and PC-speed rating. The DDR technology has slowly changed over time and they are now shipping DDR5 chips for top of the line gaming computers, but for typical office computers the DDR4 technology will be the best performance per dollar. As for the PC-speed rating, it will somewhat match the DDR number with the latest in the PC5-38400 range, but again the PC4 with the highest number possible next to it will be sufficient. General office work can be accomplished with 8GB of RAM, but 16GB is becoming the new norm. Those who want more performance will need to go to 32GB or higher.
Hard Drive: This is the long-term memory storage of the computer. There have been massive improvements in technology on these in the past few years and performance has jumped substantially. This is one of the ways that big box stores save money the most, they sell an old fashioned hard drive in a new computer and performance suffers greatly. The newest technology is called NVMe and any new computer should contain this kind of hard drive to see the best performance. If cost is prohibitive, then at least get the previous technology of an SSD installed in the computer.
Everything Else: The rest is mostly personal taste. If you want wireless, then get one with wireless in it with the latest being WiFi6 and some include Bluetooth connections too. If you want a large screen, touchscreen, fingerprint scanner, lightweight, certain specific ports for your devices, or whatever other features – these will be the finishing touches that help shape your final choice.
If your company is going to looking to buys new computer, then contact us to save yourself the time and money of getting a computer or worse the wrong computer.